With in-person classes canceled and it’s cafe temporarily closed as part of social distancing efforts, what’s a gym to do?
Brickwall Gym and Fitness Center has gone digital.
The family-owned Abington gym came up with the creative idea to keep serving members and the community by offering free online workout classes through YouTube. Owner Dmitriy Ivanov said the response so far has been overwhelming.
“We were surprised at how many people not only participate, but also have sent us private messages saying our classes are helping them get through this hard time,” he said.
Ivanov felt the safest way to avoid any potential exposure of the coronavirus to the staff and customers was to offer online classes. This way all of the cleaning and sanitizing efforts can be focused on the specific spaces being used by fitness instructors to stream classes, as well as any other areas they may come in contact with.
“Our instructors really are awesome and have done an incredible job figuring out a lot of the details for streaming their classes in a very short period of time,” explained Ivanov.
Group Fitness Instructor Barbara Rae, an Abington resident, echoed Ivanov’s sentiment about helping others during this difficult time.
“These are rough, unprecedented times and we know that people’s emotional health is directly affected by their physical health. We are some people’s only healthy outlet,” said Rae.
With online classes ranging from Zumba to Gentle Stretch, Brickwall is trying to offer something for all fitness levels, while adhering to social distance protocols.
“We require instructors to socially distance and only allow the instructors in the building for streaming a class,” said Rae. “If two instructors are in the classroom they are kept over six feet apart while one instructs and the other shows modifications.”
Fitness instructors also encourage people to interact with them during live streams with the help of creating a YouTube account to chat with each other through comments.
To add a little fun to the mix, recently the instructors held an online Disco Competition. Participants worked out dressed in their best disco attire and submitted photos to the gym’s Facebook page where winners were chosen.
It is Ivanov’s hope when the COVID-19 crises ends, live stream or recorded classes can continue, but the gym would need to consider the pros and cons of that in the long term.
“Helping others stay active and in shape is what we love to do and being able to do that during this difficult time has been incredibly rewarding and brought us closer together as a gym family,” said Rae.
For more information and a schedule of live stream online classes, visit Brickwall Gym and Fitness Center-HQ on Facebook or www.brickwallgym.com.
Written by Michele Christian